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Redefining the workspace for innovation and collaboration

One thing’s for sure – the way we work will never be the same again. As General Manager of New Zealand’s leading shared workspace provider, Generator, John Moffett is no stranger to new and different ways of working. But now, when flexibility is the expectation across the board rather than for the lucky few, how can leaders build solutions that foster innovation and creativity? John shares his insights into hybrid models of working in the new normal.

Working from home 100% of the time isn’t the answer. Without it, many businesses wouldn’t have survived the past two years. But that doesn’t mean it’s the answer for tomorrow.

There is much to be said for the moments when colleagues bump into each other in the hallway and quickly address a matter that has come up. Or the ideas that can start to take shape from simple lunchroom banter. It’s just not the same over zoom.

So, if working from home full-time isn’t the answer, what is?

Where business requirements meet employee expectations

Many businesses were already starting to reduce their office footprints before we were all suddenly confined to our home offices – makeshift or otherwise. But in the new normal, the challenge for leaders is to land somewhere in the middle. Neither all in nor all out but somewhere that blends flexibility with getting on with business.

When we talk about people working from home, what seems to be missed from the conversation is that not everyone has an ergonomic and spacious home office set up. You’ve also got employees who live in share houses or studio apartments where the couch or dining table becomes their desk for the day.

We’re currently in a tight labour market. Leaders do need to listen to employees and understand how they want to work. Equally, every business has its own culture and priorities that need to be considered in the solution. Bring the two together – business requirements and employee expectations – and you’ll start to see the path forward become clearer.

Powering innovation, creativity and collaboration

Innovation, creativity and collaboration aren’t just things that happen in a workplace. They’re actually a way of working.

That’s why the Generator model works so well. The buildings themselves have been designed with open collaboration and innate innovation in mind. Whether it’s inspiring creativity in team members or business leaders making new connections across different industries, a shared workspace offers opportunities that other workplace models don’t.

Plus, everyone can work how they want and need to work. Whether it’s working at a desk, or in an office space or in the lounge with colleagues, the options are all there. They can even skip out and work from home in the afternoon if that’s what they need. This in itself can lead to more innovation and creativity where the workplace is just one of many places where work gets done.

Managing health and safety in shared workspaces

When you have people coming into a workspace – shared or otherwise – who may have children or immunosuppressed family members at home, they want to know that when they’re coming into work that it’s the safest environment possible.

In the context of a shared workspace, desks are booked and cleaned between each use. This gives peace of mind to individuals, such as entrepreneurs or remote workers, who use Generator as an alternative workplace to the home. The lifts aren’t shared by multiple businesses with different hygiene protocols, it’s all managed centrally by the Generator team.

There is also the question of vaccination. Initially, all Generator contractors, suppliers and partners were requested to be double vaccinated. This requirement was recently extended to all members and guests visiting members, which was received positively.

It all comes down to leadership. Generator leads the market for shared space by doing things differently. The swing towards flexible working has certainly helped, but by looking to the future, Generator is offering a solution to the hybrid models that will meet the needs of tomorrow.

John Moffett is General Manager of New Zealand’s leading shared workspace provider, Generator.

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